Snagajob Rebounds, w/ CEO Mathieu Stevenson

Snagajob has enjoyed its success, but it has also experienced churn and Snag market confusion. Mathieu Stevenson helps us cut through all of that with an insightful and raw conversation.

Brought to you by our friends at NEXXT. Remember that next with the double X, not the triple X


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Intro (1s):

Hide your kids, lock the doors. You're listening to HR's most dangerous podcast. Chad Sowash and Joel Cheesman are here to punch the recruiting industry, right where it hurts, complete with breaking news, brash opinion and loads of snark. Buckle up boys and girls, it's time for the Chad & Cheese podcast.

Joel (21s):

Yeah, what's up everybody. You're listening to the Chad and Cheese podcast. I'm your co host Joel Cheesman joined as always with my fearless co host Chad, Sowash.

Chad (31s):

Well Hello.

Joel (33s):

And today we are happy to welcome Mathieu Stevenson. Newly minted CEO of snag a job, man.

Mathieu (45s):

That's a good French accent, I like it. Thank you for having me.

Joel (48s):

First off, Fabio Rosati has to be one of the coolest names ever. We've actually met. You mentioned it on the podcast Do you have to have a cool name to lead snag a job? Is that one of the that's right?

Mathieu (59s):

That's rights, that's a, that's a prerequisite.

Joel (1m 1s):

Excellent. Well, give us a little, a little bit about you, man.

Mathieu (1m 4s):

You know, per personally I half French, half American grew up overseas as a kid and came back to the, to the U S and then today, I'm married. Wife is Australian who actually met in Dubai and I've got three little kids around. Yeah, I've, I've, I've been a few places over the years. And then professionally, I basically spent the first half of my career at a consulting firm called McKinsey and then left to go do a quasi startup called HomeAway, which is now part of Expedia called VRBO, and then just fell in love with sort of technology and marketplaces.

Mathieu (1m 38s):

And then I got introduced to snag a job through a, a friend who knew Fabio Rosati. Who's now our executive chairman. And when I sort of heard about the mission and the vision for the company, I remember getting off the phone, I was supposed to talk to Fabio for 30 minutes. We talked for an hour and a half. I got off the phone and told my wife, even though I promised her, we wouldn't leave Texas. And just said, we've got to go do this. So that was a, that was two, two years ago. I think I drove, I guess a year and a half ago.

Joel (2m 7s):

So first question, before we get to snag a job, you lucky you, you joined the company that services hourly workers and this meteorite called COVID hits the world. What's what's what was that like? What's the current state of hourly work and sort of what's your near future view of what's going to happen?

Mathieu (2m 28s):

Yeah, yeah. As you can imagine, I think different from maybe, you know, the great recession this time around, I think hourly work was the hardest to get hit and hit first. And I think as, also, as we're now seeing the first reemerge, but, you know, overall it's sort of the trough, like hourly jobs were down 50%. They've now since recovered. So they're down about 34% year over year, but we really just had this fundamental shift in sort of labor across sectors, right?

Mathieu (2m 58s):

Like, you know, retail, restaurant hospitality, incredibly hard hit and sectors like grocery warehousing and even sort of on demand or gig that have really grown and upwards of 40% or more just since the beginning of March.

Joel (3m 12s):

Yeah. So what's the future look like?

Mathieu (3m 14s):

Well, I think, I think we're already starting to see the signs in my mind of a pretty strong U shaped recovery, you know, very similar to, I think what we've been seeing in China, if you think about China as being sort of a proxy a couple of months out. And so just since the beginning of June jobs are up more than 11%. 88% of our clients and firms who typically sort of hire over the summer are still planning on doing so, you know, we've seen a number of sort of our core clients in restaurant and retail.

Mathieu (3m 47s):

Who've now started to rehire again. And even if you think about like activity levels in our ATS, those are actually now back to pre-crisis levels. Wow. And so I think we're seeing a number of things that say, Hey, this is pretty encouraging long way to go, but pretty encouraging in terms of the rebound for hourly.

Chad (4m 6s):

So talk about rebound. You guys, actually, You put out this, new, is it, is it like a suite? What is it? First and foremost, we saw it come out and I thought, wow, this is, this is pretty cool. And then we haven't heard anything about it since then, number one, and number two, I go to the website and I hit employers and I would expect this like big glossy rebound to pop out and smack me in the face, but I couldn't find it anywhere. So tell me if, was this kind of like a, a flash in the pan kind of a thing that you're talking about rebound, is it a suite of services as it's something that you guys are going to carry forward?

Chad (4m 42s):

What what's it all about?

Mathieu (4m 44s):

Yeah. Yeah. So, so it is, it's basically a solution made up of three different services. It's in sort of a recognition that even though you're seeing this economic recovery and this U shaped recovery in my mind, they're sort of like three things that employers are trying to navigate. One is just the fundamental, like scale of the rehiring, right there, there are an awful lot of companies that are rehiring, you know, almost entire companies or entire staff and the challenges in an environment where you're having to use a phase rehiring approach.

Mathieu (5m 17s):

You know, how do you even reengage or continue to engage your furloughed workers who you can't rehire back immediately. Two probably the biggest thing that I continue to hear is just around the uncertainty and demand, right? It's easy for me to say, Oh, well, we're following a China like recovery curve. If you're a local operator, you you're just trying to navigate, like, how do I like what's the right staffing level? Cause if I get that wrong, I have a huge cost overhang.

Mathieu (5m 48s):

So that uncertainty and demand is a huge one. And then the last one is the one that I think, I think people talk about a lot, which is just the sort of safety concerns, but on the part of workers and employers and how that influences for the hiring process. And so in our mind, we tried to say, okay, how do we solve those? And it's not, it's not necessarily just a June thing, right? I mean, it's something that people are going to be navigating for the next six months. So one, we launched a new offering called talent pools, which basically says, how do you enable employers to pick up shifts or to fill shifts almost on demand, right?

Mathieu (6m 25s):

Like last minute you realize you've got more demand than you expected. How do you fill a shift? This allows them to basically tap into existing employees, furloughed, and alumni as well as sort of a snag a job qualified worker pool. Okay. So we're, you know, you say, okay, I don't have to rehire everybody. I can assess things. And when I have a demand, let me just go and fill it to sort of prebuilt hiring campaign.

Mathieu (6m 56s):

So again, you know, if you think about it, like markets are gonna reopen at different stages and you're going to see recovery in different ways. Go ahead. And just pre-build your, your campaigns, meaning I've got 10 different kinds of roles I want to hire across 20 markets. And basically as you see the need, you just flip the switch for those roles in the markets that you need to really do hire one and where you want so much more sort of targeted.

Chad (7m 21s):

Gotcha. So from a scaling standpoint, I mean that, that's where I think we overall, whether it's high volume or even if it's enterprise, nobody saw COVID coming. They got slapped in the face with it. I know obviously employee levels are down dramatically, but yet that's going to snap back. So therefore we have to understand scale better. And the only way we can scale better is through technology. So my, my question to you about the talent pools piece, is that kind of like, is this an app work?

Chad (7m 51s):

You know, I can just, if, if I'm at a restaurant and I'm a manager and I know that I need people, I can pull it out and I can start to, to add jobs into how does it, how does that actually work in a practical sense for the person on the ground?

Mathieu (8m 4s):

Yeah, so we had sort of a permutation of it really over the last 18 months or so. And there it was basically an app. So let's say you're, let's say you're a restaurant manager and your dishwasher calls in sick, or, you know, you just have a scheduling gap, you'd go on the app. You basically tap like dishwasher on your phone. And we match you to a qualified dishwasher who shows up. So it is, it is on-demand in the truest sense, just like getting an Uber driver, you don't review resumes, you trust sort of our algorithms and our qualification, that the right person is going to show up in about 95% of the time.

Mathieu (8m 44s):

If you think about like from the customer satisfaction scores, we get that right. Really now the sort of talent pools is just saying like, Hey, we recognize, in some cases you want to do that with your existing employees or your alumni or furloughed employees. That's incredibly valuable as a way to sort of keep them engaged with your brand and now, but also going forward, right. Even post rebound. Like I think it's just a different way to think about how you manage and engage talent.

Joel (9m 9s):

So I want to add some, some context to how we got here and, you know, Chad and I have been, I've been in the industry for a long time. You a much shorter period, but snag a job used to be sort of this unsung hero in the hourly space. We talked about, you know, monster and indeed, but, but things seemed to be really chugging along nicely. And then 2018 hit CEO, Peter Harrison, who a lot of people knew was, was gone. They launched a, which was an app sort of a, a platform like an Upwork or whatnot.

Joel (9m 40s):

And then Fabio comes in who has Upwork experience. And then you come in and, and I think Chad and I thought, well, you know, they're gonna reset or try to figure it out. And then the news comes out, you guys raised $8 million and you come on. And I think we were kind of thrown back like, Holy shit. Like, is this a renewal or is this is, so my question is in light of the context, you have $8 million now looks like you're going to grow the company. I'm curious about Brian Schmidt, who's on as your chief revenue officer, he has TripAdvisor experience.

Joel (10m 14s):

And he was at Google, I believe that's right. So, so what, $8 million new CEO, like, what's the plan what's going to bring this company back to life?

Mathieu (10m 23s):

Yeah. I mean, maybe, maybe I'll address the 2018. And again, hindsight is 20/20 on these things. And it predates me, my sense is, you know, when you're a couple hundred person organization, focus is important. And I think, you know, my sort of reflection is, you know, Peter and others, incredibly smart individuals, but we were probably trying to do too much relative to the size of the business. And so part of, part of what Fabio really sort of stepped in to try and do was say, Hey, really sort of, what is the focus for the company?

Mathieu (10m 57s):

What are our core businesses like, where do we invest? And then the second, which was the reality of the situation in 2018 is frankly, we had a cost structure that we couldn't support even in a, even in a high growth environment. And so there was, there was a pretty powerful reckoning in 2018, right? There's no way to sort of sugar coat that. But I think, I think now I think you'd say, you know, I'm really credit goes to Fabio, right? And, and Upwork is, is a pretty like relevant analogy for, I think what we are trying to create, right?

Mathieu (11m 28s):

We've got two core businesses. One is the marketplace, right? The that, you know, grew up in the 2000's and then the software business, right. Which is, which is a couple of ATS's. And for the marketplace, like for us, it is really becoming a true on demand marketplace for full time, part time and gig based shift work very much akin to an Upwork model. Meaning, you know, you as a worker, you have a profile just this week, actually we're launching public profile. So now hourly workers will have a public profile akin to like what you or I might have via LinkedIn, but much more specific to hourly.

Mathieu (12m 7s):

And that enables you in some sense to like market yourself in a way that you've never been able to do. And for you to be able to receive right fit opportunities, just as much as you sort of seek them out in the traditional, like a job board.

Joel (12m 19s):

Sort of a LinkedIn for the hourly workforce.

Mathieu (12m 22s):

That's right. That's right. Because if you think about it like this, this is where it's really different to, in my experience, from like a HomeAway, you know, when you're looking for a job, whether you're passive or active, there's not a lot of serendipity in the search, right? Like nobody enjoys looking through 50 jobs. It's not like looking at a vacation house that you're interested in.

Joel (12m 41s):

That's a wild Friday night in my house. I don't know.

Mathieu (12m 45s):

Sadly, I probably do enjoy it, but you'd hope you'd have, that'd be the case. You guys are lame. But, but for me, for me, the opportunity has always been like, how do we put people in the right fit roles? Like using the profiles. You're now able to better link people to through true, like machine learning, to be able to say, Hey, here's really what we think are the best roles. And, you know, we, we now surface the five best roles for you.

Mathieu (13m 16s):

And by the way, two of those might just be invitations to go ahead and interview, right? Cause again, that's, that's incredibly powerful for somebody. And so it's a much more akin to what Upwork has done, but in our case, in what is, what is it the end of the day, lightly skilled labor you technology can actually play a much greater role in automating them, just like we do on the gig based shift side where the literally there's no human interaction you could today do that on a full time hire set. I don't think the market is ready to completely eliminate the interview, but I'm actually pretty confident.

Mathieu (13m 48s):

We've been, we've been using sort of a hybrid AI cognitive games based solution to do candidate assessment on top of somebody for profile data. You can get it just as right as, as even a professional recruiter.

Chad (14m 6s):

We will get back to the interview in a minute. But first we have a question for Andy Katz, COO of Nexxt. So for those companies that are out there today, who are kind of hesitant because they're afraid of texting, what do you have to say to them?

Andy Katz (14m 22s):

Get with the program. People are texting these days. You know, I will say that I'm in a different generation, a different point in my career that I agree I would be hesitant, but there are obviously millions of millions of people that are in that demographic that want to receive them. So it's again, know your audience and be able to deliver a message to your audience that way they want to receive it.

Chad (14m 42s):

For more information, go to Remember that next with the double X, not the triple X

Chad (15m 19s):

When it comes to, when it comes to tech and it comes to high volume or blue collar. I mean, whatever segments you want to try to try to try to own process is everything for these smaller organizations, right? You have obviously larger organizations, but some of them might be franchised and you're still, you're still looking at something that's really not an enterprise overall from a process methodology standpoint. So from snags standpoint, if I'm, if I am a small franchise owner or just maybe blue collar looking for construction workers, can I do what does end to end look like with your app?

Mathieu (15m 33s):

So think about it. Like, let's say you're a store manager of any kind of independent business franchise, etc. Let's say maybe, you own a coffee shop and you need a barista. Well, today I think about it the way it works, right? Like you put this on job description out there. You see what sort of comes through in a lot of ways in my mind, we have sort of digitized the offline process. And I think over time we've continued to automate

Joel (15m 58s):

Well, the problem is, I think we tried to digitize the offline process exactly the way the offline process was, which is why it sucks so badly.

Mathieu (16m 8s):

That's true.

Chad (16m 9s):

So, I mean, what are you guys doing to make sure that, because those are, these positions need filled today or tomorrow, right? So what are you guys doing to be able to facilitate that whole thing?

Mathieu (16m 17s):

Yeah. So think about it. And this, this, we will launch later this year, we call it sort of like our top three candidate experience, but let's say you need to hire a barista. You sort of toggle as opposed to now saying, Hey, post this job description, you have an opportunity to just say, what are the three best baristas or the three, like top fit baristas for me. And let me just go ahead and invite them to interview. Or if you feel confident enough in our algorithms, like go ahead and make them an install.

Mathieu (16m 47s):

And that for me is a very, very different approach.

Chad (16m 52s):

Right? Well, I mean, if you're, if you're looking at, let's say for instance, some of these positions requirements are very simply I think check boxes and if you can check all the boxes then why even, and I think this is what you're talking about, why even go through the interview. So the question is, do you believe that most of the industry today is actually moving towards, especially on this high volume side, moving toward no interviews, just do you meet, meet the requirements? Can you show up, can you do this?

Chad (17m 22s):

Is that what you, you believe or that's what you're feeling and seeing, or is that what you're just pushing for and hoping for?

Mathieu (17m 29s):

Yeah, probably somewhere in between. Like I, I think of it in two parts, like one is the elimination of the concept of just the application. And I just fundamentally believe a worker profile should replace the application. Right. And there's some complexity around like how you integrate with different ATS, et cetera, to enable that on the enterprise and mid market side On the interview. Again, we see it on the gig based shift side of the business, that in combination with the data that you have in somebody's profile that we layer on again, I would call it like an attitudinal assessment, which is sort of hybrid of, of using AI plus cognitive gains that you can assess like dependability ability to work in teams, et cetera, that ability, like, I think that can absolutely replace the interview.

Mathieu (18m 21s):

And I think that's actually transformative for obviously the employer, there's a real opportunity cost, but even more meaningfully on the hourly worker. Right? If you think about like the opportunity costs for them to go to an interview for the vast majority who are relying on things like public transportation, you're talking about two hours of time, but actually a hard cost of like having to take the bus, having to find somebody to take care of your child. Like that's a meaningful, meaningful cost to frankly, a segment of the population that can't afford it.

Mathieu (18m 51s):


Joel (18m 52s):

You currently have a on Glassdoor, a 62% rating as a CEO. Curious, is that something that you look at or are you concerned about it? It is only eight, eight ratings or eight people that have chimed in, but I'm curious how important that is to you if at all. And if it is, what, what will you be doing internally to sort of get that number back up to the eighties, nineties if possible?

Mathieu (19m 15s):

I honestly, as a first time CEO, I'm probably trying to figure out like, how, how should I be thinking about that? I'd say probably a couple of thoughts. Like one, you have to have certain amount of conviction around what you're doing and where you're going. I think glass door and anything you do in terms of employee surveys are really valuable just to candidly, like identify blind spots that you may have. And so I do, I do read them to understand and listen, like some of the decisions that we had to make, particularly in March and April, as it related to COVID?

Mathieu (19m 54s):

Cause we were very quick to take action. You know, I think, I think some people would say run popular. Yeah. They, for sure weren't popular. Right. Do I believe that they were the right decisions to ensure that the business could weather the storm a hundred percent? Unfortunately,

Chad (20m 11s):

Let's take a look at, you're talking about the sugarcoating before and I see a part of that sugarcoating being There's this big brand that's launched new colors, new URL. And there's like this brand whiplash that happens because it wasn't announced, but it's obvious that, you know, got kicked to the curb. Now there's a brand whiplash for not as much, I don't think at the market as there is, there is the employees.

Joel (20m 41s):

Right. You know, Peter, you had, you had Fabio come in, then you had, you know, obviously you come in with the marketing background. Can you tell us a little bit about that decision? Because from an employee standpoint, purpose means everything. And when we hear this new big brand new purpose, blah, blah, blah, you get all excited and then it's like the whiplash happens because it's all gone. Right. So tell us a little bit about that. How did you manage that? Was it really a big deal or, or not? You just transitioned right back into, into snag a job very easily.

Mathieu (21m 13s):

Yeah. Yeah. I wish I could say it wasn't it wasn't a big deal. I think on balance,I think it was very well received by the organization. Like here, here's my sort of reflection on it. Cause it was something that, that we did relatively early in my tenure is, you know, I, I can understand sort of the reasons why a year previous, somebody would have said, Hey, you know, even though snag a job has a lot of equity in the marketplace, like there's value in a different name because the word Snagajob can in some way be limiting.

Mathieu (21m 46s):

Right. Right. And so you might say, Hey, a name like a snag or whatever else provides you more optionality around like where you take the company going forward. I think the challenge is like in any rebrand, not even specific to snag a job, like there are a few things like you really have to invest to make it successful. My sort of reflection is we sort of we're somewhere in the middle. Like we were still Snag a job to consumers. We were snag to employers.

Mathieu (22m 16s):

I got co we didn't actually even own the rights to and minor detail until you just looked at it. And you said like, Hey, you know, being stuck in the middle, sort of like the absolute worst case scenario here.

Joel (22m 31s):

Yeah. Yeah. Well, as a CMO, how did that make you feel? Because I mean, being, you know, a big brand like snag and then not being able to snag it, it was, it was, it was cool that there was a new brand coming out, but not so cool that you couldn't really play on top tier. Right?

Mathieu (22m 49s):

Yeah. I mean, just, just think about it, like practically, like our social handles were like snag. And so we would communicate with workers via snag, which was a name that they had literally never heard of. Right. Cause they know snag, it's like a, which was still the consumer site. So it was creating like frankly, a fair amount of confusion and complexity. And so when we looked at it, you said like, okay, well I've got two paths, like one a double down and invest in snag.

Mathieu (23m 20s):

Or I roll back to Stag a My view was like, we didn't have rights to, had call it like some challenges with it and to do it right was going to be an expensive proposition. That's how I just said like, listen, like, I don't think it's the right use of several million dollars, of company's money to really try and make snag work when I've got a brand, frankly, that has a ton of equity in the market. And doesn't necessarily have some of the negative associations that actually snag as a word and does.

Mathieu (23m 53s):

So when we actually did research, it actually didn't come out very favorably. So we just said like, you know what, like this is, this is not the right time and place. Like the best thing for us is to go back to what has served us well for the last two decades.

Joel (24m 7s):

Absolutely. Well, I'm going to let you out on this one, we covered a story this past week about employers having, you know, employee employees, sign NDAs or agreements that if they get, if they get the Corona virus, they're not going to Sue the company. I'm just curious your thoughts on how are companies that employ a lot of hourly workers, seasonal folks, et cetera, going to evolve in this new arena and how is it going to affect hiring. And does it increase sort of the, the acceptance or evolution of automation replacing hourly workers if they're such a pain in the ass for so many companies?

Mathieu (24m 44s):

Yeah. I mean, obviously, you know, from a hiring process standpoint, you're seeing everybody move in the direction of our virtual hiring again, for a lot of reasons. Like I actually think the coronavirus is a catalyst for good. I actually think net net, that is, that is a real benefit just for all the reasons we talked about in terms of opportunity costs in terms of adapting. You know, I, I will say I've been pretty proud of, you know, the employers that we've been talking with about just how much they care about workplace safety and how they're evolving every element of their operating model to ensure workplace safety around.

Mathieu (25m 22s):

Like, does it drive longterm automation? Maybe I think, you know, I think certain sectors of the economy, we're likely to see that over the next 10 to 20 years. So it may be more of an accelerant of a trend that we would likely have seen. Yeah. But again, I think even in some retailers now, as an example are moving to more for a smaller footprint stores, just recognizing this example, like e-commerce is now again, not a new trend, but has been accelerated.

Mathieu (25m 54s):

They still need the stores. They're not saying, okay, I need fewer employees per store, but actually now it's actually even more important that I have the right fit employees because they're even more an ambassador of my brand than they were before. So I'm going to three or four employees as opposed to eight or nine per store, but they, they need to really showcase the brand and be the right fit.

Chad (26m 13s):

So last question for me, Matt, we have indeed acquired sift. We've heard nothing from them since then. Uber work, Uber work is pretty much dead. Zip took a huge hit. And again, we're talking about, these are all platforms that are really focused on the SMB and also more that high volume space kind of like the Snag a job space. Do you see this as you know, this is a good thing because are getting smacked around or I mean, is this market validation that maybe this is a hell of a lot harder than everybody thinks it is?

Mathieu (26m 51s):

It's probably a little bit of both, right? Like I think on all the gig based in the gig based shift side, which there's been one, a quarter billion dollars of investment over the last few years, like this is forcing a reckoning right in here, you're going to have a number of companies that I think the last few months just are going to be unable to make it. I was, I was actually surprised you WeWork was actually the first. They certainly won't be the last and the re and the truth of it is even, this is what we're seeing. Like SMB is not recovering as quickly as mid-market and enterprise.

Mathieu (27m 23s):

And you can imagine why. Right. They just aren't like capitalized as well. And so, again, for me, it's a reflection of, you know, one probably needing sort of fitting of, of sort of the competitive landscape, if you want to think about it that way.

Mathieu (27m 38s):

And the other, like, yeah, it's not as easy as it appears on the outside, right? The economics, you gotta make sure that you, you have those right. And, you know, I think if we learn something from 2018, it's yeah. Even when you're in a growth stage as a company, you still have to have a sustainable cost structure. And folks who may not have had that as they entered March, that was a really tough spot to be in. I think we were really fortunate that we did, and we had investors that were committed to the business and, and continue to invest in us.

Joel (28m 10s):

Matthew Stevenson, everybody CEO, good job, Mathieu, for our listeners who want to know more about you and the company, where do they go?

Mathieu (28m 19s):

Head over to the Fair enough, Jacqueline. Thank you, sir. Thank you guys. Appreciate it.

Outro (28m 28s):

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